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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-06-27 - 12:47 p.m.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

I just finished reading the Sunday editions of the Davis Enterprise, Sacramento Bee, and several articles from the Washington Post, and The New York Times, as well as some AP articles posted on Yahoo. Big mistake! I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland…or Through the Looking Glass.

First of all, the Davis City Council is well –known fodder for Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Comedy Central. The latest of a series, including retaining potholes in the alleys of downtown Davis, a toad tunnel under an overpass, and an anti-snoring ordinance, will soon be aired to the world on Comedy Central. This time – banning the use of Silly String on Picnic Day! You read it here second, folks! A quote from Bob Dunning’s column in this morning’s Davis Enterprise paper points out the ridiculous: “…the town has never been left without police protection for two hours at a time due to an outbreak of Silly String violence.” He was referring to two occasions recently when “cell phone invitees” (ostensibly from out-of-town) got rowdier than usual at “big beer parties,” necessitating calling out all the police in town to quell brawling.

The next thing I found right there on the front page of what is sometimes call the “Daily Emptyprise” : after being relocated once,the burrowing owls have moved back onto a construction site of a long-anticipated elementary school and the Contractor is now asking for $700,000 more, contending that the District caused a delay which allowed the owls to reclaim their habitat. Thought you’d want to know.

Then I turned to the Sacramento Bee Forum (Editorial Section) -

Iraq’s new thug-in-chief

U.S. indifferent to ex-Saddam hit man as boss
From this article and quotes from medical school classmates and CIA agent, I glean that he may not be much nicer man than Saddam. This doesn’t sound encouraging, especially given the U.S.’s track record in helping to establish new governments.

“U. S. Administrator L. Paul Bremer has issued a raft of edicts revising Iraq’s legal code…,” according to an article from Washington Post Foreign Service. Being interested in how this sovereignty thing is going, I perused the list of edicts:

1) Bremer has ordered that the aforementioned Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi will select the national security advisor and the national intelligence chief, who will each have five year terms, imposing his choice on the government that will be elected next year. There are those who think the U.S. may be trying to fix a system to meddle in Iraqi affairs.

2) Bremer issued 97 legal orders, which are to remain in force even after the transfer of political authority. Now this is where I begin to feel a bit like Alice again – one of the rules is that a car horn may be used only in case of emergency; another requires a driver to hold the steering wheel with both hands. Is this Bremer guy from Davis? His rules make just about as much sense as the Silly String ordinance, don’tcha think? I hope Leno and Letterman are on this! It might take the heat off Davis and this Silly String thing.

3) The most controversial order has to do with election laws and a seven-member commission, which has the power to disqualify political parties for not obeying election laws, as well as any of the candidates they support. (That sounds kind of wide open to me.) The law states that no party can be associated with a militia or get money from one. (May be difficult to separate militia members from politics in Iraq since currently all the major Iraqi political entities seem associated with armed organizations.) It also requires the electoral commission to draft a code of conduct barring campaigners from using “hate speech, intimidation, and support for, practice of and use of “terrorism.” (Now I like that code involving hate speech, don’t you? Maybe we can extend that to the media. Ann Coulter, are you listening?)

With these kinds of rules, one has to hope that we at least get a Friendly Dictator in Iraq out of the upcoming election. We’ve done worse.

It just doesn’t pay to read the newspaper.

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